It constitutes a large part of the French economy: packaging industry ranks 7 among French industries, representing 300,000 employments (direct and indirect) and a turnover of about 20 billion euros, not to mention all the other professions related to the packaging world (machine-tools, design workshops…). These employments lay on every production area of the national territory.
The CLIFE’s goal is to unite all trade unions to exchange information, get frequent updates on economical evolution and take position on specific topics. Each professional organization has its own specificities and the CLIFE is a platform for reflection on which all topics related to packaging, and especially environmental topics, are addressed.
How do you think the general public perceives the packaging world?
I have been working for about a decade for the paper and cardboard industry in Brussels, then in Paris. In 2009 I joined the National Association of Metal Can Manufacturers (SNFBM). I think I can say I now have a sound knowledge of the packaging industry and I am still noting on-going criticisms. Inopportune marketing actions and waste problems are at the heart of the debate while all the tremendous advances made possible thanks to packaging manufacturers and all the efforts involved in each branch to recycle end-of-life materials are not taken into account. These efforts are engaged on an economical as well as an environmental level.
Without packaging, products would not be handed over to reach the consumers under good conditions. This can be noted in southern countries, in which misuse and food loss are considerable (over 40% food losses between production and consumption).
Packaging represents only an insignificant percentage of a product’s environmental footprint. I believe it is important to remind that its contribution to the supply chain results in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts while avoiding misuse of protected products.
Each branch organizes its actions according to its assigned EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and the CLIFE synthetizes these actions to help improving the perception of our profession by the general public.
Is that why the CLIFE associated with the CNE?
Yes, because our approaches are fully complementary. The CLIFE is especially interested in issues related to packaging manufacturing and industry regulations.
The different colleges of the CNE debate on general and topical issues reflecting the concerns of professionals as well as of consumers. All CNE members can provide information on technical advances, new regulations or on their own experience.
Within the framework of the progress report on “environmental claims” for instance, I can remember very instructive debates during which every participant (manufacturers, retailers, administrations, associations…) expressed its arguments, a confrontation resulting in a very interesting report.
Thanks to the CNE, the manufacturers whom we are representing can better perceive the increasingly specific demands of the civil society.
The CNE is the logical extension of the CLIFE: CNE views are always highly documented and rigorous for the specific reason that all the intermaterial experts are involved.
Michel Fontaine and Bruno Siri, respectively belonging to the cosmetics and the agrifood sectors, provided a complementary viewpoint. The CNE is now recognized as a crucial authority for the fact that it provides us with round-table conferences and records that are accurate but also documented, unbiased as well as useful for the whole packaging chain and, beyond, for politicians, consumer organizations, journalists…
Together, we are participating in a better knowledge and recognition of the packaging industry!